Senator JV wants UH-1D Huey helicopter-deal probed

“The Senate should check if any violations were made on the procurement law in the purchase of these 21 helicopters. We have to look into this deal because P1.2-billion worth of choppers that cannot be used and have obsolete parts are disadvantageous to the AFP Modernization Program,” Senator Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito, a member of Senate Committee on National Defense and Security said.

The senator filed Senate Resolution No. 1238 seeking the Senate Blue Ribbong Committee to investigate on the alleged anomalous procurement of twenty-one UH-1 combat helicopters by the Department of National Defense. The resolution of Ejercito was raised in light of published news reports about the ‘tailor-fitted’ procurement of 21 refurbished Huey helicopters by DND for a ‘favored bidder’.

Philippine Air Force recently held a media demonstration of the acquired UH-1D Huey helicopters to show that acquired refurbished choppers are on working condition.

“Eight of the UH-1Ds have more powerful engines similar to the PAF rescue helicopter, the Bell 205, which has a better lifting capacity, the UH-IDs had structural improvements compared to the honey-combed components of the UH-1H and many others,” PAF spokesperson Lt. Col. Enrico Canaya said.

He also said that “their parts are not obsolete and available in the market just like the parts for the existing fleets of UH-1Hs the PAF is currently maintaining.”

Seven of the 21 delivered UH-IDs from Rice Aircraft Services, Inc. are now in service, while another one is undergoing acceptance testing. Six others are undergoing flight tests and the remaining are in various stages of assembly.